Practice Report No. 21

The preparation for UNLV is underway, and the Badgers spent 24 periods on Thursday getting ready for the Rebels.

Badgers choose six to be captains
For the second year in a row, head coach Bret Bielema took to Twitter to reveal Wisconsin's captains for the upcoming season. At 8:28 p.m. last night, Bielema tweeted "Excited to announce our 2010 captains: Moffitt, Carimi, Tolzien, Kendricks, St. Jean, and Valai. All will be great leaders and examples."

When putting the vote to the team, Bielema reminded them it wasn't a popularity contest or an MVP vote.

"It's about the guys that since you've been in this program, you've seen do the right things, not only on the football field but away from the football field or in the weight room," Bielema said he told the team. "I just asked them to think about that when they vote, and I thought our guys did a really nice job."

The number of captains ties for the most in school history, as the 1996, 2001 and 2007 teams each had six (the 2007 team had five permanent captains and a sixth for each game). However, Bielema is not worried, simply saying this is what the team voted for.

"I'm sure if you 10 that would be too many," he said. "I don't create it. It's something they voted on. The two guys on defense, almost every kid on defense voted for those two guys."

Bielema was also pleased that a number of other players received votes, showing him that there are many guys on the team that are looked up to. Specifically, Bielema mentioned J.J. Watt, Aaron Henry, Niles Brinkley, Blake Sorensen, Bill Nagy and Nick Toon as the players that got votes.

Aug20_morning 020.jpgCamp bright spots
Bielema was asked if there had been any surprises now that camp is almost three weeks old, and he didn't mention any specific surprises, but he did take note of several players that he felt had upped their game, like Sorensen.

"He was out a few days himself, but he's really playing good football for us," Bielema said of Sorensen. "He's a fourth linebacker so when Mike [Taylor], Chris [Borland] and Culmer [St. Jean] are in there, he can play any of those spots very, very well."

The defensive tackle spot has been another source of excitement for Bielema.

"Another nice addition from camp has been the development of Beau Allen, Eriks Briedis and Ethan Hemer," he said. "Those three guys, Jordan Kohout and Patrick [Butrym] we were pretty sure we could play winning football for us, but those three guys are going to give us a nice depth in there at d-line."

The secondary has also been big for Bielema, calling safety Shelton Johnson a "critical find" and praising the depth at cornerback.

"Shelton, in his third year now, has always shown us athletic ability, but it hasn't really carried over to the football field, Bielema said. "He's really had a nice camp and is going to give us some depth there for both Jay [Valai] and Aaron [Henry] if we need it.

"Our three corners, Niles Brinkley, Devin Smith and Antonio Fenelus, all three are really playing good football."

Walk-ons showing their skills
Bielema said that the team staff will meet on Sunday to discuss giving out any scholarships to active walk-on players. Before doing so, he has already taken note of several of those players who have showcased their abilities in camp.

"Jared Abbrederis is really playing at a high level for us at wide receiver," Bielema said. "Ethan Hemer, a defensive tackle, has shown he can play. Ethan Armstrong at the linebacker position, and Andrew Lukasko and Adam Hampton in the back end have been valuable guys for us on special teams, and Rob Korslin on offense at the tight end position, because of [Brian] Wozniak getting hurt. There have been five or six walk-on guys that have shown up."

Abbrederis incidentally has changed uniform numbers from No. 13 to No. 4.

"He's got the right look now, and hopefully he's going to continue to do good things," Bielema said.
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